Conscience and belief is it

The Cardinal talks the usual familiar self-pitying self-serving bullshit.

“Although the tone of public discussion is sceptical or dismissive rather than antireligious, atheism has become more vocal and aggressive.” Britain’s most senior Catholic leader says that the “unfriendly climate for people of all faiths” has united the country’s three major faiths, Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

In complaining about people who don’t share their baseless ‘faiths’ having the gall to speak up. Touching to see them unite though, when in the good old days they used to slaughter each other at every opportunity.

“The vocal minority who argue that religion has no role in modern British society portray Catholic teaching on the family as prejudiced and intolerant to those pursuing alternatives,” he says.

Yes, that’s right – because it is. ‘Catholic teaching on the family’ is highly ‘intolerant’ of homosexuality for no clear or convincing reason; it also endlessly tells women that we are profoundly different from men – equal to be sure, in some formal sense, but different different different – and must (yes must – they’re not shy) not attempt to be like men or in fact to be like anything other than the familiar limited maternal figure. That, you see, is why the ‘vocal minority’ don’t want to be told what to do by cardinals and rabbis and imams.

[T]he cardinal argues that moves to silence the faith communities must be resisted. “There is a current dislike of absolutes in any area of human activity, including morality,” he says.

It’s not a question of ‘silencing’ the ‘faith communities’; it’s a question of not submitting to them, and of not granting them extra political power on the strength of their ‘faith,’ and of not giving a free pass to ‘faith-based’ irrational unjust rules and ‘absolutes’ that oppress or subordinate people.

He blames the culture of individual rights, encouraged by the Human Rights Act, as responsible for creating a society that claims to be tolerant, but in fact denies the rights of religious groups to act according to their conscience and beliefs.

As always, that depends on what is meant by ‘act.’ In the case of some religious groups for instance it means families forcing children to marry total strangers whom they do not want to marry. The culture of individual rights does, when it is awake and attentive enough, deny the ‘right’ of religious groups to act according to their ‘conscience and beliefs’ in cases like that, and other similarly oppressive violent antiegalitarian cases. It does and it should; the only problem is that it doesn’t do it enough; it should do it more. Does Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor approve of forced marriage? Probably not – but then he shouldn’t talk kack about the rights of religious groups to act according to their conscience and beliefs. He should be more responsible.

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